Broward News

Mavericks High Charter Schools Not Accredited

Records show that the Mavericks in Education Florida charter schools, which have a high-profile lobbyist and cheerleader in Frank Biden, are not accredited high schools. This means their graduates may have trouble playing college sports or receiving federally funded grants or scholarships to college.

The Fort-Lauderdale based, for-profit Mavericks currently has eight charter schools in Florida, including two in Broward, two in Miami-Dade, and one in Palm Beach County. The company aims to educate teenagers who

would otherwise drop out of high school. None of the existing Mavericks schools is listed in the database of schools accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS).

In reports submitted to the Florida Department of Education in 2010, two Mavericks schools, in Osceola and North Miami-Dade, said they were not accredited. Two others, in Homestead and Pinellas County, said they would be seeking accreditation in 2011. But there is no evidence in the SACS database that any Mavericks school has received accreditation.

According to the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, accreditation is crucial for students who want to play college sports, join certain military programs, or receive help paying for college.

"Most colleges and universities require students to graduate from regionally accredited high schools. In addition, students who apply for sports programs, federal state grants and scholarships, and military programs must graduate from an accredited school," the FCPCS website states.

Mavericks manager Lauren Hollander recently told New Times that half the charter chain's graduates go on to postsecondary education and about a quarter join the military.

Indeed, Mavericks' website touts such accomplishments: "As a holder of a Florida high school diploma, graduates will be able to compete with other public and private high school graduates for jobs and acceptance into colleges, universities and the military."

Many Florida community colleges -- and the University of Florida -- do not require students to graduate from an accredited high school. The U.S. Army has different recruiting levels based on education. It's unclear whether Mavericks students, who do most of their coursework online, would be considered top-tier or second-tier recruits.

Hollander could not immediately be reached for comment today.